Tag: dementia

How to connect with your dad on Father’s Day

Do you need to connect with your father this weekend? You still can when they have dementia.
Alzheimer’s, or another form of dementia, does not need to signal the end of your relationship. You can still find ways to connect with your father.

 

As you celebrate Father’s Day, here are some tips:

Talk less, do more: A prolonged conversation may just confuse your father. He may feel frustrated because he cannot hold his end of the dialogue. Try to engage him in activities instead. Ensure that your father in genuinely interested. If he is having difficulty understanding the activity, demonstrate how to do it or simplify the activity.

Enter his world. Choose the time when he feels best: Someone living with dementia lives in a small world. They find comfort in routine. They usually perform best during certain parts of the day. Plan to spend time with your father during his best moments.

Choose a comfortable environment: After you find the right activity and meet at the appropriate time, ensure that you are also in a comfortable environment. Do not let loud noises, bright lights, or other distractions divert attention away from your time together.

Put your agenda away, just enjoy the moments together: After carefully planning your day, do not be upset if it does not work out as planned! Sometimes your father might act in an unexpected way. Enter his world and try to make the best of that situation. Do not underestimate the importance of a hug, sharing a meal, or a walk around the park.

 

We use Teepa Snow’s positive physical approach™ to connect before providing care to our clients. As dementia progresses, it is important to focus on what an individual can still do, instead of focusing on what they cannot. Enjoy Father’s Day!

connecting, care, dementia, Alzheimer's, carepartner
Do not over think your activities. Your father wants to feel needed. If he does not seem interested in the activities you plan, try asking him to help you around the house.

The Healing Power of Music

music therapy, singing, NursePartners, dementia

Music is one of the ways we communicate

Research is confirming an idea long held by those who work and care for dementia patients: music has the power to shift mood, manage stress, stimulate positive interactions, facilitate cognitive function and coordinate motor movements.  It can provide a way to connect, even after verbal communication has become difficult.

This happens because rhythmic and other responses require little cognitive and mental processing.  They are influenced by the motor center of the brain that responds directly to auditory rhythmic cues.  A person’s ability to engage in music, particularly playing and singing, remains intact late into the disease process because these activities do not mandate cognitive functioning for success.

Many individuals with Alzheimer’s can learn to move better, remember more, and even regain speech through listening and playing music.  By pairing it with everyday activities, your loved one can develop a routine that helps them recall memory, as well as working to improve cognitive ability over time.

Incorporating music into a treatment plan:

  • Use familiar songs to help soothe and take the edge off difficult moments.  Make sure that the songs you select do not bring up bad memories and are not connected to sad events of the past.
  • Identify music that is familiar and enjoyable to your loved one.  If possible, let them choose the music.
  • Compile a playlist of favorite recordings, which can be used for memory recall.  Singing a familiar song together can offer a welcome distraction and help a person “snap out” of a repetitive action or behavior.
  • Encourage your loved one to move along to the music to develop a routine (clapping, dancing, playing).
  • Choose a source of music that isn’t interrupted by commercials, which can cause confusion (iTunes, YouTube channels, playlist building apps).
  • Song sheets or a karaoke player can allow your loved one to follow along and sing to old-time favorites.
  • You can use music to influence your loved one’s mood.  A softer piece of music can help create a calm environment while a more upbeat song can uplift spirits.
  • Playing animated, happy songs in the morning can help with getting your loved one started.

music therapy, dementia, NursePartners